The Glamorous Mariner
Number 3 in my illustration series of magical people.
London Fashion Week opens. Who personifies London fashion? There's just one answer. Daphne Guinness.
Royalty. Singular Vision. Eccentricity. Rarity Among Women. Obsession.
She is an artist, an icon, a muse. I begin delving into photos, videos.
The process of capturing the essence of an icon, already endlessly captured and dissected...becomes like making love.
- I have a porn-fest, watching hours of videos on her
- I capture stills in my mind and online
- I run around studio like a shaman picking up visual clues, inspirations.
"She is a tiny insect, a fish out of water," I thought and astonished that the classic fish of Dr. Seuss matched what I already had as a pencil sketch!
I open my Hammond's Nature Atlas circa 1960's to this image of a sailfish, a 'Glamorous Mariner' ...the complex, pointy, flying insect/fish/mammal living between worlds.
I scan the sailfish, I love the fin, it's like Daphne's hair for sailing in the air...a "fish out of water" that can fly.
Realizing my first sketch already channeled the Dr. Suess blue fish's fashion pose, I begin to relax into the experience.
Let's make some more love...
- I edit more stills
- I dance to UK garage and house music
- Stretch, breathe, feel the sheepskin from the UK on my chair.
- Breathe deep, touch, tweet, connect.
- I take stills and make into a new movie, I play with my tweets;-)
- Everything I thought is turned upside down
- Daphne's rhthym is taking over
I scan the sailfish and a large oak leaf I pressed in the book falls out. That's her too.
The oak leaf has fins at the end, tiny, tiny hair like curls. The sort of finish that Daphne's constructed frail/strength is. Like the amazing ends of house music anthems I have been listening to. A crush of beats to immerse in and at the end a tiny cymbal flash, or one note. Like the Sanskrit word "iti" I always loved. It means "and so on..." "Infinity."
I open another book, Harper's Bazaar Greatest Hits, just for random fun to this portrait of Gisele Bundchen in Chanel, taken as her then new boyfriend, Tom Brady walks in the door. It's that new love 'fan' of excitement that I also want to capture in the Daphne portrait. After all, in the classic myths, she is a nymph, a tiny new-born insect, changed to a tree by her father to escape Apollo chasing after her. A laurel tree whose leaves will crown winners in many cultures.
I love this 'between all worlds' feeling. If I am in it, then so is my creation. I see a little 'sketch' I did last week of one of my favorite photographs. I will incorporate this in Daphne. The umbrella. The Sea.
The wings of this moment play off this photograph representing the end of a era with a certain boyfriend. Another aspect that Daphne embodies...the fragile Angel, a Victorian, Gothic, deathly pale Morticia...
Her tight black suits, her love of armour, hoods...
...like a fallen leaf, swirling on its way down from a tree, propelled by its stem, like Daphne's famous heel-less shoes. (Yes, this includes her delicate fall at Alexander McQueen's funeral, a fall that was sadness itself.)
I made her shoes end in a delicate stem of the leaf barely touching the earth for her changeling status, gave her metal gauntlets and two topsy-turvy bowls of goldfish to balance on her pert shoulders.
I wanted digital portraits of her to be the scales of her fin and I dangled portraits of her from her umbrella as her public image is part of her armour.
Finally, balancing a square, digital world of interface gave the 'reason' Daphne is a magical being navigating the modern world.
You can purchase a giclee print of this Daphne Guinness portrait here.